Dorset Police

Dorset Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the county of Dorset in the south-west of England, which includes the largely rural area covered by Dorset Council, and the urban conurbation of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Dorset Police
Dorset Police badge.png
Force Crest
Agency overview
Formed1 April 1974
Preceding agencies
  • Dorset County Constabulary
  • Bournemouth Borough Police
  • Dorset and Bournemouth Constabulary
Annual budget£211.1 million (2018-2019) [1]
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionDorset, England
England Police Forces (Dorset).svg
Map of police area
Size1,024 square miles (2,650 km2)[2]
Legal jurisdictionEngland & Wales
Constituting instrument
General nature
Operational structure
Overviewed by
Constables1,383 (of which 111 are special constables)[3]
Police Community Support Officers123[3]
Police and crime commissioner responsible
Agency executive
Website Edit this at Wikidata

The force covers an area of 1,024 square miles (2,650 km2) with a population of 774,000,[2] which increases in the tourist season.


Dorset County Constabulary was formed in 1855. In 1965, it had an establishment of 544 and an actual strength of 466.[4] On 1 October 1967, it merged with Bournemouth Borough Police to form Dorset and Bournemouth Constabulary.

On 1 April 1974, this force took over some areas (mainly Christchurch and its hinterland) from Hampshire Constabulary and acquired its present name of Dorset Police.

Chief constablesEdit

  • ??–1962 Ronald Berry Greenwood
  • 1962–1980 Arthur Hambleton[5]
  • 1981–1982 David Owen
  • 1982– 1995 Brian Weight
  • 1995–1998 D. W. Aldous[6]
  • 1999–2004 Jane Stichbury[7][8][9]
  • 2005–2012 Martin Baker[9][10]
  • 2012–2018 Debbie Simpson[10][11]
  • 2018–2021 James Vaughan[11]
  • 2021–present Scott Chilton[12]


Dorset Police was formerly responsible to the Dorset Police Authority, which was replaced in 2012 by an elected Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). As of May 2021, the PCC is David Sidwick, who was a Conservative Party Candidate.

Organisation and operationsEdit

Dorset Police often work with other organisations to assist in emergencies, such as Dorset Search and Rescue, who assist in the search and recovery of missing persons.


In the 2018-2019 financial year, Dorset Police:[1]

  • Received 104,028 emergency calls and 420,677 non-emergency calls
  • Recorded 183,412 incidents, including 55,028 crimes
  • Made 10,515 arrests
  • Dealt with 5,832 missing persons incidents and 7,426 mental health incidents

Criminal Investigation DepartmentEdit

CID is based at Dorset's divisional headquarters in Bournemouth & Weymouth, and provides advice to all policing units on crime-related matters and maintaining a corporate approach to reducing crime, as well as providing specialist and investigative roles. The department is split into numerous sub-departments, which include but are not restricted to, Child Abuse Investigation Teams, Volume Crime Teams, Priority Crime Teams, Financial Investigation Units, Major Crimes Investigation Teams and Serious Sexual Offences.[13]

Roads Policing UnitEdit

Dorset Police is responsible for policing road across the county. There are no motorways located within Dorset. Dorset Police have a total of ~450 vehicles, from 20 different manufacturers, and drive a total of 7.5 million miles a year.[14][15]

Ports Policing UnitEdit

The Dorset Police Ports Policing Unit is responsible for policing all designated and non-designated ports in Dorset, making sure that legislation is followed, particularly the Terrorism Act 2000. It also obtains any intelligence on smuggling and contraband. Ports in Dorset include Poole Harbour, Swanage Harbour, Portland Harbour, Weymouth Harbour, Christchurch Harbour and Bournemouth Airport.

Marine Policing UnitEdit

Dorset Police' Marine Unit is responsible for policing the 89 miles of Dorset's coastline and up to 12 miles out to sea. The area is one of the busiest coastal areas in the UK, including two of the busiest ports, numerous shipping lanes, thousands of private moorings, the RNLI's busiest callout area and a training centre for the Royal Marines.[16]

Armed Response UnitEdit

Dorset Police's Armed Response Group is a 24/7 sub-department of the Operations department that responds to major and serious crimes where firearms are involved. The unit responds to incidents with the capability of firearms and Taser deployment. As of 2011, they were working hard to 'crack-down' on imitation firearms.[17][18]

Dog SectionEdit

Dorset Police has had a Dog Section since 1953; the unit is based in Eastern Division HQ in Ferndown. The unit comprises one inspector, one sergeant, 13 constables and 22 dogs, including general purpose German Shepherds and more specialist breeds.[19]

Air Operations UnitEdit

Dorset Police formerly operated an MD 902 helicopter from its headquarters at Winfrith.[20] In 2012, the National Police Air Service (NPAS) was created, and all police air support units in England and Wales were gradually transferred to it.[21] The NPAS inherited 23 bases, including Winfrith, but this was eventually reduced to 14.[22] A helicopter remained based at Winfrith until 26 September 2014, when it was moved to a new home at Bournemouth Airport. Although based in Dorset, the helicopter forms part of the NPAS south-west region of police forces – which includes Devon and Cornwall, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, South Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Gwent.[23]


The headquarters of Dorset Police is at Winfrith, roughly halfway between Weymouth and Poole. Police stations open to the public are located at Blandford, Bournemouth Central, Bridport, Gillingham, Poole, Sherborne, Swanage and Weymouth. The opening hours of some of these stations are, however, very limited.

Stations without a public front desk are Boscombe, Dorchester, Ferndown, Shaftesbury, Sturminster Newton, Verwood, Wareham, Wimborne and Winton.[24]

There are two custody suites always open at Bournemouth Central and Weymouth Police station. Work was completed on Weymouth's Station in January 2002,[25] which has 19 cells, with work completed on Bournemouth's in October 2010,[26] with 37 cells. There is also a third custody suite at Poole Police Station which opened in December 2009 with 27 cells, however, due to financial costs, this is only opened when operationally necessary.[27][28]

In September 2017, the Christchurch Neighbourhood Policing Team moved from the site on Barrack Road to the fire station on Fairmile, further advancing the relationship with Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.[29]

Uniforms and equipmentEdit


Male police officers wear the traditional custodian helmet in the comb style with a Brunswick star that reads 'Dorset Police' for foot patrol, a peaked cap when on mobile patrol in vehicles, and a white peaked cap for traffic officers, both with a chequered Sillitoe tartan band. Female officers either wear a bowler hat or peaked cap, or a white bowler hat or peaked cap for traffic officers, also with Sillitoe tartan. PCSOs wear a peaked cap or bowler hat, but with a blue band.

When on duty officers wear black combat trousers and wicking T-shirts. Dorset Police no longer use the traditional police jumper, having favoured the black fleece with police written on the chest and back. Dorset Police do not have Brunswick stars on their epaulettes, just the rank and collar number (or just collar number for constables). Regular Officers and Special Constables wear the same uniform. PCSOs wear a similar uniform, but with blue epaulettes rather than black. High Visibility Tac Vests are now issued to all officers, along with Body Armour, which they are required to wear when on operational duty. The idea of these utility vests are to spread the weight of the equipment carried by officers across the torso rather than place strain on the waist.

Formal dress comprises an open-necked tunic, with white shirt/blouse and tie/cravat. Constables and Sergeants wear custodian helmet's and collar numbers on their epaulettes, all higher-ranked officers wear peaked caps with their rank and collar numbers on their epaulettes. The No.1 uniform is accompanied by black boots or shoes and occasionally white gloves, or brown gloves for the rank of Inspector and above.


Dorset Police use TETRA digital radios, rigid handcuffs, leg restraints, collapsible baton and incapacitant spray. Some officers use the Taser, a non-lethal electroshock weapon used to incapacitate targets via shocks of 50,000 volts.


Dorset Police Transport Services manage the force's 450 vehicles, across its divisional units, road policing unit, and armed response.[30]


Training for new recruits in Dorset is held at the Headquarters in Winfrith. For Police Constables it consists of eight months' training and a two-year probationary period. For PCSOs it consists of 18 weeks' training and a 15-week probationary period. For Special Constables it consists of a similar but shorter programme of training during weeknights and weekends, accompanied by a two-year probationary period or less, dependent on the hours they can commit a month. Recruits receive their warrant card and uniform during training. Once the training period is over, the new officers are posted in a local division.


British Crime SurveyEdit

The British Crime Survey for 2010 found that there was an overall fall in crime in Dorset by 2.5%, and the largest fall in crime was robbery, which fell by 20%, making Dorset Police the eighth best performing force out of 43 in England and Wales, and first in forces similar to Dorset.[31]

The performance figures from Dorset Police comparing April to December 2009 with the same period during 2008, showed a 9.9% drop in burglary, an 8.5 per cent drop in criminal damage, a 3.5 per cent fall in vehicle crime, a 3% drop in total violent crime, and a 17.8 per cent fall in the most serious violent crime. Criminal damage fell by 5.8%, violence against the person without injury by 9.3%, violence against the person by 5.2%, drug offences by 5.1% and there was a 2.8 per cent fall in total recorded crime.[32]

According to the British Crime Survey, 63.8 per cent of people think Dorset Police deals with local concerns, making Dorset the best performing force in England and Wales for that issue.

Some 9.9% of people say there is a high level of perceived anti-social behaviour, making Dorset the eighth best performing force in England and Wales – and the top performing force among its family of five most similar forces. Some 17.6% of people said there was a big problem with drugs while 18.8 per cent of people in Dorset said there was a big problem with drunk and rowdy behaviour. 51.6% of people in Dorset agreed that the police and local councils were dealing with issues, making Dorset the twelfth best performing force in England and Wales.[33][34]

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of ConstabularyEdit

In 2010, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services since 2017) (HMICFRS) graded Dorset Police overall as 'fair' on local crime and policing, protection from serious harm, confidence and satisfaction. In detail they were graded as 'fair' at neighbourhood policing, neighbourhood presence and solving crime. They were rated as 'good' at reducing crime. They were graded 'excellent' at suppressing gun crime, suppressing knife crime, comparative satisfaction of the BME community, confidence in the police and proportion of police cost met by council. They were scored 'poor' and 'stable' on reducing road death and injury.[35]

PEEL inspectionEdit

HMICFRS conducts a periodic police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy (PEEL) inspection of each police service's performance. In its latest PEEL inspection, Dorset Police was rated as follows:[36]

  Outstanding Good Adequate Requires Improvement Inadequate
2021/22 rating
  • Preventing crime
  • Developing a positive workplace
  • Treatment of the public
  • Protecting vulnerable people
  • Managing offenders
  • Good use of resources
  • Investigating crime
  • Responding to the public


In 2006, a Dorset Police officer's use of CS gas against a Wareham gardener left him with permanent scarring. The gas canister was held inches from the man's face for a prolonged period of time. The man's family alleged that he was prevented from seeking medical care in the immediate aftermath of the incident.[37] It was later reported that the man pleaded guilty to interfering with the arrest of another individual when he was sprayed with the incapacitant and was sentenced to two weeks in prison. This sentence was served concurrently with a 3 month prison sentence for three assault by beating offences which the man also admitted and was on bail for at the time of the CS incapacitant incident.[38]

In the same year, a man who had previously been sprayed with CS gas by Dorset Police was arrested and forcibly stripped in his own home by Dorset Police officers.[39]

In 2011, a Slovakian care worker was unlawfully detained and strip-searched in a Dorset Police station in Bournemouth.[40] In a later settlement, Dorset Police admitted liability, and paid out damages of £4,750.

In March 2021, Police Constable Timothy Brehmer, was convicted of manslaughter for the death of his mistress and follow colleagues wife. Having had a 10 year affair, the altercation in which he is said to have strangled the victim to death took place in a local car park, following her decision to call things off. [41]

In 2022 the IOPC made a number of recommendations following the disappearance of Gaia Pope, and the poor way Dorset Police Handled the case. [42]

Alliances and merger proposalsEdit

In 2006 the Home Office announced plans to reduce the number of police forces in the UK from 42 to 24.[43] This would have seen Dorset Police merge with Gloucestershire Constabulary, Devon and Cornwall Police, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Wiltshire Police. The plans were publicly criticised by all the involved forces, stating that it would lead to poor quality service and a reduction in local policing.[44] The merger plans were abandoned in August 2006 by the then Home Secretary, John Reid.[45]

Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police announced in December 2013 that their Chief Constables and PCCs were exploring opportunities for greater collaboration; to save costs without reducing service, and share assets, resources, expertise and best practice. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) defines a strategic alliance as: "An agreement between two or more forces to pursue a set of agreed objectives, while retaining separate identities." A strategic alliance was agreed to in March 2015, covering over 30 administrative and operational business areas (almost 40% of the total activity of the two forces). These business areas include admin services, finance, human resources, fleet services and ICT, together with some specialist policing teams. The first joint teams became operational in April 2016. In each business area, there is a single team and management structure made up from people from both organisations, to work on behalf of both forces. Any costs and savings are shared in proportion to the size of each force. So far[when?] the strategic alliance project is on track to achieve the initial target of £12 million of combined annual savings by 2018.

In September 2017, it was announced that Dorset Police and Devon and Cornwall Police were looking at merging to form a single force.[46] This was cancelled in October 2018 when the PCC for Devon and Cornwall was unwilling to submit the merger plans to the home officer for consideration.[47]

Officers killed in the line of dutyEdit

The Police Roll of Honour Trust and Police Memorial Trust list and commemorate all British police officers killed in the line of duty. Since its establishment in 1984, the Police Memorial Trust has erected 50 memorials nationally to some of those officers.

Officers killed in the line of duty or who have died reporting for, on, or off duty (Bournemouth Borough Police, Dorset Constabulary and Dorset Police)
Name Rank Age Force Date of death Circumstances
Thomas Bishop Constable 39 Dorset Constabulary 21 September 1877 Fatally bludgeoned with stones by a drunken man he had warned. The incident occurred in Bere Regis following the Woodbury Hill Fair.[48]
Samuel Foster Superintendent 51 Bournemouth Borough Police 6 August 1904 Collapsed and died while representing the force at the funeral of a colleague.
Sidney George Wood Constable 27 Dorset Constabulary 26 April 1908 Died after crashing his bicycle on a steep hill searching for a thief
Thomas Biddlecombe Constable 47 Dorset Constabulary 18 December 1916 Whilst patrolling Thornford Road, Sherborne, he took severely ill and was taken by ambulance to Yeatman Hospital where he died.
Wilfred Charles Viney Constable 31 Dorset Constabulary 25 July 1930 Killed riding pillion in a motorcycle collision on plain clothes night patrol.
Sidney F. Loader Constable 40 Dorset Constabulary 8 September 1938 Fatally injured in a collision with a car while on cycle patrol.
Alfred E. Head Constable 46 Dorset Constabulary 19 October 1938 Fatally injured in a road collision cycling to court in bad weather.
Stanley Ivor Marsh Constable 24 Dorset Constabulary 9 February 1939 Died as a result of injuries received in 1938 when he attempted to stop a car.
Walter Charles Billett Reserve constable 61 Dorset Constabulary 5 July 1940 Killed in a fall from his bicycle while reporting for duty in the blackout.
Ronald Mayne Roffey Sergeant 37 Bournemouth Borough Police 22 August 1956 Drowned attempting to rescue his daughter from the sea in Jersey.
Cecil Robert Budden Constable 27 Dorset Constabulary 19 May 1957 Fatally injured in a collision with a car while on motorcycle patrol.
Kenneth Frederick Innell Inspector 44 Dorset Police 13 December 1982 Collapsed and died during an incident on duty at Poole Quay.
Sean Oxford Special constable 21 Dorset Police 7 May 1992 Collapsed and died during warm up exercises in preparation for self defence training.
Stephen Wilson Constable 37 Dorset Police 16 May 1996 Fatally injured in a motorcycle collision while reporting for night duty.
Ian Leslie Toomer Inspector 50 Dorset Police 20 April 1999 Killed in a road collision when his police car crashed in wet weather.
Robin Povall Detective constable 50 Dorset Police 7 March 2003 While cycling home from duty at Weymouth he was in a collision with a car that had cut across his path. He sustained serious injuries from which he died a few hours later in hospital.
Ian James Morton Detective constable 32 Dorset Police 26 October 2008 Killed in a road traffic collision whilst travelling to report for duty at Bournemouth, in the early morning, when his vehicle left the road and crashed into the wall of a bungalow at Highcliffe.
Jonathan Mark Hicken Detective constable 47 Dorset Police 6 October 2019 Collapsed and died while travelling to duty.

Dorset Police Male Voice ChoirEdit

The Dorset Police Male Voice Choir was founded on 4 July 1995 as independent charity that today has 60 members, that perform regularly throughout Dorset. The choir has performed throughout England and also France, Guernsey, Ireland and the USA. The choir has so far raised over £250,000 for charity.[49]

In popular cultureEdit


  • The 2006 book Bobbies on the Beat: 150 Years of the Dorset Police by Melvin Hann presents the history of the Dorset Police Force to mark the 150th anniversary.[50]
  • The 2018 book Operation Countryman: The Flawed Enquiry into London Police Corruption by former Metropolitan Police officer Kirby Dick, discusses Operation Countryman, an investigation into police corruption in London in the late 1970s, on which then Home Secretary, Merlyn Rees, appointed Dorset Police to investigate. The investigation was led by then Dorset Police Chief Constable, Arthur Hambleton, to which Dick describes in his book as 'shambolic'.[51]


  • In March 2017, an episode of The Kyle Files, presented by Jeremy Kyle, featured the No Excuse and Traffic unit. The 30-minute documentary featured Kyle joining the units on patrol, focusing on the dangers at the wheel, such as drink and drug driving, mobile phone use, speeding and Operation Dragoon, Dorset Police's approach to tackling the most dangerous road users.The episode was filmed in October 2016 and aired on ITV on 6 March 2017.[52]
  • In October 2017, Gordon Ramsay's documentary Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine, featured Ramsay joining the Traffic Unit on patrol in Bournemouth, for a special operation to tackle the issue of drug driving. The episode was filmed in April 2017 and the two-part programme aired on ITV on 19 October and 26 October 2017.[53]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "2018-2019 PCC Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Overview: Dorset Police". HMICFRS. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Police workforce, England and Wales: 30 September 2019". GOV.UK. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  4. ^ The Thin Blue Line, Police Council for Great Britain Staff Side Claim for Undermanning Supplements, 1965
  5. ^ "Arthur Hambleton". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  6. ^ "Chief Police Officers (Hansard, 16 June 1998)". Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  7. ^ "New Forest woman is police chief". Daily Echo. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Dorset lives – In the public service | Dorset Life - The Dorset Magazine". Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Police Professional | New chief for Dorset". Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Dorset Police Chief Constable Martin Baker resigns". BBC News. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Dorset Police's Chief Constable Debbie Simpson to retire". BBC News. 12 January 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  12. ^ Streeter, Michael (12 August 2021). "Scott Chilton confirmed as new Dorset Police Chief Constable". Gillingham News. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  13. ^ "CID". Dorset Police. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Transport Department". Dorset Police. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Traffic Department". Dorset Police. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Marine Section". Dorset Police. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Boy, six, sparks new guns fear". BBC News. 3 July 2001. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Tactical Firearms Unit". Dorset Police. Retrieved 15 August 2021.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Dog Section". Dorset Police. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Dorset police defend their helicopter". Daily Echo. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  21. ^ "New police air service takes off". BBC News. October 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Bases map | National Police Air Service". Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  23. ^ Police, Dorset. "Force signs up to National Police Air Service". Dorset Police. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Visit Us". Dorset Police. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  25. ^ "All systems go for new police base". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Bournemouth Custody Suite | Kendall Kingscott". Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  27. ^ "Police station custody suite to effectively close". Bournemouth Echo. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  28. ^ "REVEALED: Time in a police cell costs more than a stay in a 5-star luxury hotel suite". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  29. ^ "Christchurch police station set for closure". BBC. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  30. ^ "Transport Services". Dorset Police. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  31. ^ "Dorset crime figures down". Western Gazette. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Dorset police statistics over Christmas and New Year - crime falls". Weymouth People. 12 January 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  33. ^ "Total crime in Dorset is down - Along with violent, sexual, robbery, criminal damage and drug offences". Dorset Police. 21 January 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  34. ^ "Recorded crime in Weymouth". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  35. ^ "Report Card". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. 13 March 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "PEEL 2021/22 Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy: An inspection of Dorset Police". Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. 13 April 2022. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  37. ^ "Ban police from using CS spray, say family of scarred victim". 3 February 2006.
  38. ^ "CS spray man sent to jail after attack". Dorset Echo. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  39. ^ "Bournemouth campaigner protests against arrest and strip search".
  40. ^ "Boscombe police apologise for 'unlawful' detainment of woman".
  41. ^ "UPDATE: Former Police Officer Sentenced for Manslaughter". CPS. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  42. ^ "IOPC recommends changes to Dorset Police missing person policies and procedures following tragic death of Gaia Pope-Sutherland". WiredGov. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  43. ^ "Police forces 'to be cut to 24'". BBC News. 20 March 2006. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  44. ^ "Concerns over police merger plans". Salisbury Journal. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  45. ^ Dawar, Anil (20 August 2006). "Abandoned police force merger plans cost £11m". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  46. ^ "Police forces reveal merger plans". BBC News. 6 September 2017. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  47. ^ "Devon, Cornwall and Dorset Police force merger 'off'". BBC News. 5 October 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
  48. ^ Bere Regis Murders Archived 30 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Bere Regis village website history section. 2004. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  49. ^ "About Us". DPMVC. Retrieved 22 February 2020.
  50. ^ Hann, Melvin (21 July 2006). Bobbies on the Beat: 150 Years of Dorset Police. ASIN 1904349455.
  51. ^ Kirby, Dick (19 March 2018). Operation Countryman. ISBN 978-1-5267-1254-7.
  52. ^ "Dorset Police officers to appear on Jeremy Kyle on Monday night". Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  53. ^ "Dorset Police officers to appear in ITV cocaine documentary alongside Gordon Ramsay". Retrieved 19 February 2021.

External linksEdit